ESSEX FIRE CREWS – STRIKE SOLID, RETAINED CREWS SET UP PICKET LINES, PUBLIC SUPPORT TREMENDOUS,
ACAS TALKS TO GO AHEAD AFTER CHIEF LIFTS BLOCK
Essex fire crews have solidly supported an 8-hour strike today in opposition to frontline cuts and other changes forced through by service managers. Public support at pickets and other protests has been tremendous, with many donating money to the hardship fund.
Retained crews were at their stations to set up picket lines to show their support. Retained firefighters work ‘on call’ and would not normally be at the station unless they were being turned out to a 999 call.
The union says today has demonstrated massive service-wide discontent.
Fire service managers have now removed blocks to further talks offered by ACAS. All parties have now accepted an ACAS invitation to attend exploratory talks next week.
Alan Chinn-Shaw, FBU brigade chair said: “There has been solid support for this strike and the public have been fantastic in their support. Retained crews made a point of setting up picket lines although there was no need to be in attendance at their stations at all.
“The blockages put in the way of getting the key fire service national negotiators involved in attempts to resolve this dispute have now been lifted. Their involvement has been vetoed by the chief officer for nearly three years.
“Exploratory talks called by ACAS will now take place next week. This is an important step in the right direction and we are disappointed it has taken a ballot and strike to achieve that.
“This strike is about protecting our fire service from cuts and imposed changes. Essex fire service has the funds, these cuts and changes are not necessary."
ESSEX FIRE CREWS TO COMMENCE STRIKEUNION ACCEPTS FRESH OFFER FROM ACAS OF FURTHER EXPLORATORY TALKS
Essex fire crews starting an 8-hour strike in protest at cuts and imposed changes have accused their managers of being unwilling and unable to broker a deal. The union has accepted a fresh invitation from ACAS, made this afternoon, to start exploratory talks. No further details of that meeting are available and a date has still to be agreed.
Essex fire crews are taking strike action in a dispute over frontline cuts and changes forced through by fire chiefs. Current plans for cuts would see the loss of one in five frontline crews in Essex since 2008, with the public already waiting longer for fire crews to turn up to fires in the home.
Alan Chinn-Shaw, FBU Brigade chair said: “No one wants to go on strike, we have only done so in what is a third year of continuing cuts and imposition. Our managers refuse to address the key issues in the dispute and our last resort is to take short-term strike action. “Our action is only for 8 hours. The cuts being planned will permanently impact on public and firefighter safety.
“The dispute centres on further damaging cuts and changes imposed on fire crews without agreement which impacts on them and the public. These include the way that fire crews are used which reduces the availability of key appliances and equipment. “We have seen 160 frontline posts axed since 2008 and the current set of cuts would bring that loss to one in five frontline crews. It is already taking longer for appliances to get to home fires and cuts can only make that worse.
“The fire authority has the money as it has underspent its frontline staffing budget by over £1.6 million. It is also building up huge cash reserves – over £12 million – which are much higher than necessary. “The claim that the fire authority has moved its position on the key issues in the dispute is not correct. There is no trimming back on the frontline cuts, these are going ahead as are further imposed changes.
“Chief officer Johnson has made clear that on the key points in dispute he will not move. The union has, however, accepted an invitation from ACAS of further exploratory talks.”
Adrian Clarke (Regional Secretary)- 07917 017713
Keith Handscomb (Regional Executive Council Member)- 07730 435633
Mick Rogers (Brigade Secretary) – 07967 023709
Alan Chinn-Shaw (Brigade Chair – 07967 - 720363
Nick Mayes (Assistant Brigade Secretary) – 07917 065870
For all the latest correspondence and information on Pre-Arranged Out-Duties please see below and Click Here
Keep checking the website for useful information.
As you are aware, the Service have implemented an imposed Pre-Arranged Out-Duties system which commenced on the 4th February 2012. This has not been agreed and the FBU have not been supplied with a policy document for the minimum 6 week consultation period. Service managers are instead determined to drive this change through without agreement and regardless of the impact it may have on our members, both financially and to family life including childcare issues. This is an unnecessary and blatant attack on our Grey Book and on our members conditions of Service and is not an issue the FBU can leave unchallenged.
Please find below a letter of duress for use when being ordered to undertake a Pre-Arranged Out-Duty. Always ensure that a fully completed letter is provided to your line manager and that you retain a copy for your own records.
Please use the chart provided above to keep a record of all costs and mileage attributed to the undertaking of a Pre-Arranged Out-Duty. This information may assist you in making a claim for reimbursement.
Brentwood Fire Station Cuts- Petition Hits 10,000
Brentwood Firefighters attended the Fire Authority meeting on the 7th December 2011. Despite Deputy Chief Fire Officer Eckley saying “It is absolutely ridiculous and untrue to suggest we are ignoring the voice of democracy", the Firefighters were not provided the opportunity to speak about the petition they handed in, and even though, as was also stated by DCFO Eckley, “The Fire Authority councillors are democratically elected representatives of the community", the democratically elected representatives of the community did not discuss the petition or the overwhelming public support the campaign to STOP the downgrading of Brentwood's fire cover has received.
Brentwood Councillors William Lloyd and Russell Quirk did manage to gain entry to the Fire Authority meeting but were also not allowed to speak and voice the concerns of the public and Firefighters!
The campaign to stop Brentwood's fire cover being downgraded continues. The petition, and numbers against the ill concieved plans grows daily, and currently has over 10,000 signatures both on paper and on line at:
This is the website of the Fire Brigades Union in Essex, dedicated to providing members with up to the minute information on current issues we are fighting on their behalf. The FBU have become custodians of the Fire Service over recent years and we will continue to serve our members and communities, by preventing the erosion of our conditions of service, & fighting against cuts to frontline emergency cover.